BANGKOK: Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday (Sept 19) slammed the proposal to re-list some parts of the cannabis plant as a narcotic, saying there is no evidence of improper use of cannabis under existing laws as claimed by the policy’s critics.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul holds a bottle of cannabis oil. Photo: Bangkok Post
He made the comment in response to a petition on Change.org signed by 1,363 doctors which called on the government to scrap the policy decriminalising cannabis use and possession, citing the lack of controls to prevent its recreational use and abuse by children and minors, reports the Bangkok Post.
Instead, Anutin said the ministry is willing to explain any concern expressed by the group. The minister pointed out that current rules on cannabis use are set up with medical users in mind.
“The law doesn’t support other uses beyond [medical use]. There are rules which prevent cannabis smoking in public, and sales are restricted to individuals over the age of 20,” he said.
“Re-listing cannabis [as a narcotic] is ridiculous, and we won’t do it because we have come so far. We haven’t seen any negative impact that is beyond our control.”
He expressed his confidence that the parliament won’t reject the ministry’s cannabis bill again once the lawmakers’ concerns are addressed.
On an unrelated note, Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutecha, who accompanied Anutin, said he has no problems working with the Bhumjaithai leader. The Democrat politician said the party has yet to explain the reason for its objection to the cannabis bill.